Power games in North Korea as general fired
The North Korean general widely considered to be the mentor of Kim Jong-un has been dismissed from his post, leading to rumours of a power struggle within the top ranks of the communist state.
The state media reported that Gen Ri Yong-ho, chief to the general staff of the Korean People's Army, was removed from his post because of ill heath.
But insiders claimed it was because he was becoming too powerful.
It coincided with reports that Kim Jong-nam, Kim Jong-un's older half-brother, has been ordered to say nothing that could be construed as critical, particularly on the question of hereditary succession.
Kim Jong-nam was once considered the likely heir to Kim Jong-il, but infuriated his father when he was arrested trying to enter Japan on a fake passport in 2001. He told investigators he wanted to visit Disneyland.
The firing of Gen Ri appeared to have caught intelligence agencies by surprise but sent a message that Kim Jong-un was in "full control".
"A dictator has to put mechanisms in place to prevent coups and challenges to his power," Daniel Pinkston, a senior analyst at the International Crisis Group, said (© Daily Telegraph, London)